Austria’s first nationwide traffic information system

VAO is Austria’s first nationwide traffic information system

VAO is Austria’s first nationwide traffic information system

A comprehensive public traffic information system which includes all means of transport, covering every district of a country – that is the transport experts’ vision for Austria. One such forward-thinking project is VAO which was presented for the first time to the public at ITS World Congress in Vienna in October. Cutting-edge technology provided by the software companies PTV Group and Hacon is used in this project.

In July 2012, the Austrian motorway operators ASFINAG, the Austrian transport association organisers ARGE ÖVV, ITS Vienna Region, ÖAMTC, Ö3 traffic editorial staff, the City of Graz, BMI and eight federal provinces and co-opted partners joined forces and awarded contracts for this project. The new information platform which had its debut at ITS World Congress in Vienna in October is scheduled to go live in late spring 2013.

A revolutionary approach
The core component is a public database:  the Graph Integration Platform (GIP) which enables the different partners to maintain and share content in partial networks.  A smart concept enables planners to easily develop an integrated transport network. Reliable, high quality data provided by the authorities in charge will keep it up-to-date. From road networks and public transport lanes to parking facilities and cycle paths – all traffic-relevant information is collected and stored to the new information platform.

Added value for citizens
Public authorities place particular emphasis on the maintenance of an official road graph as the basis for their transport and infrastructure management. The authorities in charge prepare their own data which means that people are provided with high quality information which is always up-to-date. Moreover, map data licensing is no longer required.  “For the first time, it is possible to create an integrated data platform offering an intermodal travel information service for all of Austria with consistently high quality – from motorways to public transport and from cycle paths to the tiniest footpaths,” summarizes Ing. Mag. Bernd Datler, managing director of ASFINAG Maut Service GmbH. The Austrian motorway operator is also in charge of the project management. At the same time, the requirements of the EU guideline concerning the development of a European geodata infrastructure (INSPIRE) are met, enabling another cross-border expansion.

Many people involved for a good cause
ITS Vienna Region is the joint traffic management project of the three Austrian provinces Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland. It is also embedded in the public transport association of the Vienna Region (VOR). Hans Fiby, head of the ITS Vienna Region, says: “The implementation of a nationwide traffic information service for Austria is a major challenge, especially in view of the very ambitious schedule. We have therefore selected providers who are able to meet our high expectations in terms of quality and expertise required for the implementation of our project that is based on cutting-edge technology.” The PTV Group from Germany is one of them. Its Austrian affiliate is responsible for data conversion and route server technology. This also includes the concept concerning data transfer from the graph integration platform to the Optima routing software provided by sistema s.r.l., the Italian provider for traffic management software and a member of the PTV Group. ARGE ÖVV awarded the contract to integrate public transport to the German engineering company Hacon.  50% of the VAO project is financed by the climate and energy fund KLIEN which supports a broad range of climate, energy and sustainability projects in Austria.